September 21, 2020
Q. As Tatum has emerged as a star scorer, defenses are giving him more and more attention and pressure, and he's responded by leveling up his play-making ability. In what ways have you seen him develop his passing abilities to make defenses pay?
BRAD STEVENS: He's always had great vision, and you're right, people have paid him a lot of attention, certainly off actions when he has the ball, blitzing pick-and-rolls, even in some games earlier this year running and jumping in the half court.
You know, I think all of those experiences as they happen more and more, you get more comfortable reading those things and making the next right play.
He did a good job moving the ball the last couple games and getting other guys those opportunities to drive. And then he was able to be the beneficiary of getting it back a few times, as well.
Q. How is Gordon doing after a game back? And how can you incorporate him more into the equation where you -- I mean, 30 minutes was more than anyone expected, but how can you kind of maneuver more where you could use him more?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think he's just getting back. He hasn't played in four and a half weeks, so 30 minutes was a huge plus. You know, it was one of those deals where he looked pretty good the whole time. He asked to be taken out a few times. But I thought for the most part, he looked pretty good.
That now is a good thing, because now he knows he can do that, and it's good that we had this little break in between, and knowing that was important.
But also, as far as like incorporating him, we need to just find the best shot for our team. That is going to be surrounded or centered around our best players, but it's not like going to be a, hey, we've got to get this person to get 20 tonight or this person to get 20 shots or -- we're just going to make the right play for our team, and that's all we're focused on. That's all we want to do.
And he's good at that. He's good at playing off the ball and he's good at cutting. He's good at making the next right play, and he's okay if he doesn't shoot it 15 times. That doesn't bother him one bit.
Q. Coach, the other night when Smart was on Dragic he was so effective defensively. Smart can be very effective have defensively on anyone, but you know that Goran is going to adjust. But take me inside your thoughts on that specific matchup, what you liked about the way you were able to make him uncomfortable the other night.
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, he's a heck of a player. He's playing at a great level. Obviously we switch a lot, so a lot of different people guard guys at different times of the game. Kemba was on him a lot, Jayson was on him a lot, but Smart did spend more possessions. And Smart -- you know, our goal as a team is to impact the ball, and if we don't impact the ball then we're probably in trouble. We're not huge in there, on the interior, especially against some of their guys.
So the lower it gets, the harder it gets for us, and so that was the impetus behind that. But we know like there's hard matchups everywhere in this series because they've got a lot of good players, and no matter who's matched up on who, we've got to be at our very best.
Q. I know that the break is good for Gordon and getting him healthy, but how jarring is it after you guys have been going every other day for over a month now to have this long stretch without a game? My second question is we saw more of your top five lineup I think than we had in the regular season. What did you see in film from that group, and what's encouraging about that?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, the hard part about that is we never had all five or very rarely had all five available during the regular season before the hiatus. It was only like 12 or 13 games. And then when we got here, Kemba wasn't practicing for the first few weeks, so we never really got into that stuff much.
The idea was that we have to get those guys on the court as much as possible, and I thought their defense together was great and obviously led to some run-outs there late in the first half that were huge baskets for us heading into halftime of that game.
But we have to get more crisp with that group, but certainly in the Playoffs the more you can play your best players, the better, and those are our five best.
And what you said earlier, I just think that, yeah, the four days -- I was saying today that when we first got here, this place was bustling. There were eight teams that were here, there were tons of people. The other 14 teams were shuttling in and out and practicing in this building, and now in a lot of ways this hallway feels empty.
Even though Miami and Denver and LA we're all still here, it feels like a lot less people. So the four-day break feels a little eerie, to be honest.
Q. Bam seemed to get loose a good amount there in the second half with the handoffs and the slipping. How challenging is that for you guys to try to contain him there, and obviously stay tight on their shooters?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, if a guy chasing a shooter is dead do you jump out and take the shot away and possibly let him fake it, which he does great, or are you late to the shooter? It's a really hard thing to guard. It's very difficult. Those guys run off screens 100 miles an hour, and both Bam and Kelly are great fake handoff players, fake hand-back players.
Bam does so many good things because he catches it at the elbows or where he wants with a live dribble. It's really hard to fake -- excuse me, to switch when the guy still has a live dribble because he can quickly spin and get out of it, and Bam has got a great feel for that. Certainly gave us fits.
Q. Obviously 60 points in the paint is going to get the Heat's attention defensively. What is the response to try to have that same impact or close to it, and then the other question is how did you view this time off, blessing or curse, in the sense of obviously time off good for bodies, but it's nice to have the momentum and stay within that every other day run I would assume?
BRAD STEVENS: You know, I think each game is its own entity, so it is what it is. We're all on the same schedule. We know we're going to have to play the best game that we've played in Game 4 of this series to have a chance to win. That's just the way series work. That's the way the Playoffs work. You have to get better every game. We have to play more of the game. We've got to play more than 35 or 38 minutes. And we've got to make sure that we play to that standard the entire 48.
And then with trying to get to the paint, we're just trying to generate good looks. It's really hard against a great Miami defense.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports